I have mentioned before my admiration for the current Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics at UNB. He is getting involved in just about every possible issue that relates to economic development in New Brunswick. He is working on productivity, immigration, language, urban/rural, trade. He developed a set of measures for NB economic performance similar to the One NS indicators published in Nova Scotia.
I think one of his tools has been to utilize grad students. He can amplify the scope of work by focusing their efforts.
Now I see he has added something called the JDI Roundtable on Manufacturing Competitiveness in New Brunswick. This is an important issue as the future of manufacturing in places like New Brunswick is uncertain due to labour market challenges, rising costs and increasing global competition, not to mention a lack of young entrepreneurs going into the manufacturing business in the first place.
It looks like Herb is marshalling an army of aspiring economists to take on research relevant directly to the New Brunswick economy.
We have come a long way from the days when you could expect one or two academic papers per year on subjects such as”Intergenerational Dimensions of Canada’s Fiscal System”. Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a place for academically oriented research and it will help, I suspect, in the longer run with policy development. But we have challenges right now – with 1, 2, 3 year time horizons that we need intellectual horsepower to help us address.